Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saying the J-word

This past week I got the privilege of joining with the Commission on Ministry (the group that interviews and discerns the call of those seeking ordination and then makes recommendations to the bishop) to hear the stories of eight men and women. They shared with us the precious and fragile gift of their understanding of their call to the priesthood.  It was a holy time.

One of the conversations we always have with those seeking holy orders is about their relationship with the Triune God, and most specifically, with God the Son, Jesus the Christ.  I am always struck by how easy, or how challenging it is, for folks to do this--particularly because they have discerned a call to serve in ordained leadership in Christ's very Body, the Church.  How can we preach and proclaim the Gospel if we can't talk about Jesus?

In my preparation for preaching this week, I read a commentary (Feasting on the Word) written on the Sunday Gospel by Lee Barrett.  Lee wrote, "Jesus is the presence of the tranformative power of God."

One way of teasing out who Jesus is for me is to look at my life and see where it has been transformed by the power of God.  This is the place that proclaims who Jesus is to me.  For me.  With me.

Where has Jesus transformed your life?  Who is the Jesus your life proclaims?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Yet another year of grace


The knitting of the sixty stars for the Sixty Star Project has gone quicker than the giving of the stars. I have my master list of people who have influenced my life in profound and essential ways, with some empty spaces yet to fill as I continue to ponder and honor those folks who have helped me become me.  The giving of the stars has taken time because I want to give my loved one his or her star at a moment is which we have an opportunity to savor the gift of our relationship.

Most of the stars have been given in person, but the very first star was sent by mail to a person who has certainly had the most impact on my life, my mother.  My mother continues to live on land that has been in our family for over one hundred years.  She and I have not always gotten along as well as we'd wish, so the greatest gift of this time in our lives is how much we truly love being together.  I try (not always successfully) to drive the nearly three hundred miles to visit each month because I know it is precious time together.

Mother is never happier than when she is working in the yard; at Christmas we had green beans and Swiss chard grown from her garden.  She also made my very personal favorite, chocolate pie (so good that it was featured in my daughter's cookbook, The Home Sick Texan Cookbook).  Mother is generous and graciously opens her home and heart to all sorts and conditions of others.  She has taught me much about the wisdom that comes with a life well-lived.  

One of her gifts to me this Christmas was a passage of Scripture.  As I begin another year of blogging, I thought that sharing this verse with you was a way for us to begin another year of grace together.

 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.  2 Corinthians 8. 12